I could give you the link to the Daily Fail story which, predictably, throws much more bile in The Cleggster’s direction, but I’ll stick with the Guardian story, which states that the Liberal Democrats have stopped the Tories introducing a mandatory 6 month jail term for the second time someone’s caught carrying a knife. Leaked letters show that Danny Alexander and David Laws totally opposed the move. While the official Lib Dem line is that it’s still under consideration, (which I presume is code for “the Tories won’t shut up about it”) the unofficial view is that we’re not going to let it through.
Way back in 2011, this was a huge issue in the Holyrood elections. Labour’s policy was for a mandatory 6 month sentence for the first offence – the message being “Carry a knife, go to jail.” This policy was widely discredited as I wrote at the time and Labour’s defence of it went from bad to worse when their hapless then justice spokesperson had to admit he had got the dodgy figures on which he relied from the press.
Key to highlighting the flaws of such a policy was the success of the No Knives Better Lives campaign. New evidence from this year suggests that education is the key to reducing knife crime as the BBC reports:
The study’s author Rebecca Foster told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “Carrying a knife actually increases your risk of being victimised, it’s bringing danger into an environment that doesn’t need to be there.
“So if you emphasise that a knife will not protect you – will actually do more harm than good – and that’s really drummed into young people and you’ve got people who have directly experienced knife crime and therefore believable, not just some person who doesn’t know what they’re talking about, then it’s hoped that this can convey the message.”
Stop and search has more than doubled in recent years and the report also cautioned that this may exacerbate and create tensions and feelings of mistrust.
The police have been going into high schools up here and frightening the living daylights out of young people, telling them how easy it is to end up dead from stab wounds, and making the point that more knives = more dead people.
Note also the comments on stop and search, too, a key issue on which Willie Rennie and Alison McInnes have been doing the decent, liberal thing and vigorously opposing Kenny MacAskill’s nonchalant stance.
It’s fantastic to see that Clegg, Laws and Alexander have been doing the decent, liberal thing again at UK government level too.